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A Forgotten Empire Chapter 5

A Forgotten Empire Chapter 5

A Forgotten Empire Vijayanagar| by Robert Sewell Preface|Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3|Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6|Chapter 7|Chapter 8|Chapter 9|Chapter 10|Chapter 11|Chapter 12|Chapter 13|Chapter 14|Chapter 15|Chapter 16|Chapter 17

Deva Raya I. (A.D. 1406 to 1419)
The amorous monarch, Deva Raya I. ~~ The farmer's beautiful daughter ~~ The king's escapade ~~ The city threatened ~~ A Hindu princess wedded to a Muhammadan prince ~~ Firuz Shah's anger ~~ Pertal's marriage ~~ King Vijaya ~~ Probable date of accession of Deva Raya II.

Firishtah tells us of an event that must have taken place towards the end of the year A.D. 1406, in which the principal actor was the king of Vijayanagar. This king I believe to have been Bukka II.'s successor, his younger brother, Deva Raya I. The story relates to a mad adventure of the Raya which he undertook in order to secure for himself the person of a beautiful girl, the daughter of a farmer in Mudkal. His desire to possess her attained such a pitch, that he made an expedition into the debatable land north of the Tungabhadra for the sole purpose of capturing the girl and adding her to his harem. I have already shown reasons for supposing that Bukka II. was a middle-aged man at his accession, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that this hot-blooded monarch was his younger brother, who began to reign in November 1406 A.D. His escapade must be narrated in full as told by Firishtah, since it led to very important consequences.

"There resided in the town of Mudkul a farmer, who was blessed with a daughter of such exquisite beauty, that the Creator seemed to have united all his powers in making her perfect."

This attractive person was educated by an old Brahman, whose admiration of her led him to think that she would prove a desirable member of the Raya's household.

"He proceeded to Beejanuggur and being introduced to the roy, spoke in such praise of the beauty and accomplishments of the young maid, that he was fired with the desire of possessing her, and entreated the bramin to procure her for him of her parents in marriage. This request was what the bramin earnestly wished, and he immediately agreed to satisfy him; upon which the roy despatched him with rich gifts and great promises of favours to the parents, and the title of ranee, or princess, for their beautiful daughter. The bramin lost no time in his journey, and, upon his arrival at the farmer's house, delivered to him and his wife the roy's orders, that they should repair to Beejanuggur with their daughter. The parents were overjoyed at such unexpected good fortune, and calling for the young maid, laid before her the rich gifts of the roy, congratulated her on being soon to be united to a great prince, and attempted to throw upon her neck a golden collar set with jewels, as a token of immediate espousals, and which, if done, could not have been broken off.

"The beautiful virgin, to their great astonishment, drawing her neck from compliance, refused to receive the collar, and observed, that whoever entered the harem of Beejanuggur, was afterwards not permitted to see even her nearest relations and friends; and though they might be happy to sell her for worldly riches, yet she was too fond of her parents to submit to eternal absence from them, even for all the splendour of the palace of Beejanuggur. This declaration was accompanied with affectionate tears, which melted her parents; who rather than use force, dismissed the bramin with all his gifts, and he returned, chagrined and disappointed, to Beejanuggur….

"When the bramin arrived at Beejanuggur, and related to the roy the failure of his scheme, the prince's love became outrageous, and he resolved to gratify it by force, though the object resided in the heart of Feroze Shaw's dominions.[92] For this purpose he quitted Beejanuggur with a great army, on pretence of going the tour of his countries; and upon his arrival on the banks of the River Tummedra, having selected five thousand of his best horse, and giving the reins of his conduct to love, commanded them, in spite of the remonstrances of his friends, to march night and day with all expedition to Mudkul,[93] and, surrounding the village where Pertal[94] lived, to bring her prisoner to him, with her whole family, without injury."

The unexpected, however, happened. The king neglected to send the Brahman to warn Pertal's family, and on the arrival of news at Mudkal that a large force of the Raya's troops was approaching, the inhabitants fled, and amongst them the girl and her relatives. The troops therefore resumed, but on the way looted the country. They were attacked by superior forces and 2000 of them were slain. This led to a war.

"In the beginning of the winter of the year 809 (I.E. the winter of A.D. 1406),[95] he (the Sultan) moved in great force, and arrived near Beejanuggur, in which Dewul Roy had shut himself up. An assault was made upon the city, and the Sultan got possession of some streets, which, however, he was obliged to quit, his army being repulsed by the Carnatickehs. Dewul Roy, encouraged by his success, now ventured to encamp his army under protection of the walls, and to molest the royal camp. As the mussulmauns could not make proper use of their cavalry in the rocky unevenness of ground round Beejanuggur, they were somewhat dispirited. During this, Sultan Feroze Shaw was wounded by an arrow in the hand, but he would not dismount; and drawing out the arrow, bound up the wound with a cloth.

"The enemy were at last driven off by the valour and activity of Ahmed Khan and Khankhanan, and the Sultan moved farther from the city to a convenient plain, where he halted till his wounded men were recovered."

He halted here for four months, holding the Raya a prisoner in his own capital, while bodies of troops harassed and wasted the country south of Vijayanagar, and attacked the fortress of Bankapur. The "convenient plain" was probably in the open and rich valley near the town of Hospett, south of the city; for the Sultan could not have ravaged the country to the south unless he had been master of the whole of this valley for many miles. Bankapur was taken, and the detached forces returned bringing with them 60,000 Hindu prisoners; on which the Sultan left Khankhanan to hold Vijayanagar, while he himself attempted to reduce the fortress of Adoni, "the strongest in possession of the enemy."

Deva Raya then began to treat for peace, and was compelled to submit to conditions to the last degree humiliating. He agreed to give the Sultan his daughter in marriage, to indemnify him with an immense treasure, and to cede for ever the fort of Bankapur.[96]

"Though the roies of Carnatic had never yet married their daughters but to persons of their own cast, and giving them to strangers was highly disgraceful, yet Dewul Roy, out of necessity, complied, and preparations for celebrating the nuptials were made by both parties. For forty days communication was open between the city and the sultan's camp. Both sides of the road were lined with shops and booths, in which the jugglers, drolls, dancers, and mimics of Carnatic displayed their feats and skill to amuse passengers. Khankhanan and Meer Fuzzul Oollah, with the customary presents of a bridegroom, went to Beejanuggur, from whence at the expiration of seven days they brought the bride, with a rich portion and offerings from the roy, to the sultan's camp. Dewul Roy having expressed a strong desire to see the sultan, Feroze Shaw with great gallantry agreed to visit him with his bride, as his father-in-law.

"A day being fixed, he with his bride proceeded to Beejanuggur, leaving the camp in charge of Khankhanan. On the way he was met by Dewul Roy in great pomp. From the gate of the city to the palace, being a distance of six miles,[97] the road was spread with cloth of gold, velvet, satin, and other rich stuffs. The two princes rode on horseback together, between ranks of beautiful boys and girls, who waved plates of gold and silver flowers[98] over their heads as they advanced, and then threw them to be gathered by the populace. After this the inhabitants of the city made offerings, both men and women, according to their rank. After passing through a square directly in the centre of the city,[99] the relations of Dewul Roy, who had lined the streets in crowds, made their obeisance and offerings, and joined the cavalcade on foot, marching before the princes. Upon their arrival at the palace gate, the sultan and roy dismounted from their horses, and ascended a splendid palanquin, set with valuable jewels, in which they were carried together to the apartments prepared for the reception of the bride and bridegroom, when Dewul Roy took his leave, and retired to his own palace. The sultan, after being treated with royal magnificence for three days, took his leave of the roy, who pressed upon him richer presents than before given, and attended him four miles on his way, when he returned to the city.

"Sultan Feroze Shaw was enraged at his not going with him to his camp, and said to Meer Fuzzul Oollah that he would one day have his revenge for the affront offered him by such neglect. This declaration being told to Dewul Roy, he made some insolent remarks, so that, notwithstanding the connection of family, their hatred was not calmed."

Firuz returned after this to his capital and sent for the lovely Pertal, and on her arrival, finding that her beauty surpassed all report, he gave her in marriage to his eldest son, Hasan Khan, when "the knot was tied amid great rejoicings and princely magnificence." The lady's husband is described by Firishtah as being "a weak and dissipated prince." He was heir to the throne, but was easily ousted by the valiant Ahmad "Khankhanan," and lived privately at Firuzabad, "entirely devoted to redolence and pleasure." The last we hear of him is that his usurping uncle, Ahmad Shah I., treated him kindly, "gave him the palace of Firozeabad for his residence, with an ample jaghire (estate), and permission to hunt or take his pleasure within eight miles round his palace, without restriction to time or form." Hasan "was more satisfied with this power of indulging his appetites than with the charge of empire. While his uncle lived he enjoyed his ease, and no difference ever happened between them; but he was afterwards blinded and kept confined to the palace of Firozeabad." This must have been after A.D. 1434.

Deva Raya I. lived till at least 1412 A.D., and was succeeded by his son Vira-Vijaya, whom Nuniz calls "Visaya," and who, he says, reigned six years. The last extant inscription of Deva Raya I. is dated in A.D. 1412 ~~ 13, the first of his successor Vijaya in 1413 ~~ 14. Vijaya's last known inscription is one of 1416 ~~ 17, and the first yet known of his successor, his eldest son, Deva Raya II., is dated Monday, June 26, 1424 ~~ 25. Nuniz gives Deva Raya II. a reign of twenty-five years.

I am inclined to think that Deva Raya II. began to reign in 1419, for the following reason. The informants of Nuniz stated that during Vijaya's reign he "did nothing worth relating," and the chronicle records that during the reign which followed, namely that of Deva Raya II., there was "constant warfare." Now we have it from Firishtah that in 1417 Firuz, Sultan of Kulbarga, commenced a war of aggression against the Hindus of Telingana He besieged the fortress of Pangul,[100] seventy miles north-east of Adoni, for a period of two years, but the attempt to reduce it ended in failure owing to a pestilence breaking out amongst both men and horses.

"Many of the first nobility deserted the camp and tied with their followers to their jaghires. At this crisis Dewul Roy collected his army, and having obtained aid from the surrounding princes, even to the Raja of Telingana (Warangal), marched against the sultan with a vast host of horse and foot."

This then took place in 1419 A.D., and since this energetic action was not consonant with the character of Vijaya, the FAINEANT sovereign, "who did nothing worth recording" in all his career, we must suppose that it took place as soon as Deva Raya, his successor, was crowned; when the nobles surrounding him (he was, I believe, quite young when he began to reign)[101] filled with zeal and ambition, roused the Hindu troops and in the king's name plunged into war against their country's hereditary foe.

If this be correct, the reign of Deva Raya II., granting that it lasted as stated by Nuniz for twenty-five years, ended in A.D. 1444. Now the chronicle tells us a story of how this Deva Raya's son and successor, "Pina Rao,"[102] was attacked by his nephew with a poisoned dagger, and died from the effects of his wounds after a lapse of six months. Abdur Razzak, more reliable because he was not only a contemporary but was at Vijayanagar at the time, relates the same anecdote of Deva Raya II. himself, making the would-be assassin the king's brother, and definitely fixing the date beyond a shadow of a doubt. The event occurred on some day between November 1442 and April 1443 ~~ the outside limits of Razzak's visit to Calicut ~~ during his stay at which place he says it happened. Abdur Razzak does not mention the king's death, and this therefore had not supervened up to the time of the traveller leaving the capital in December 1443. On the assumption that we need not be too particular about Nuniz's "six months," we may conclude that the attack was made about the month of April 1443, and that Deva Raya II. died early in 1444 A.D. There is still, however, a difficulty, as will be noticed below, inscriptions giving us the name of a Deva Raya as late as 1449 A.D., but it is just possible that this was another king of the same name.

Putting together the facts given above, we find that the twenty-five years of the reign of Deva Raya II. lay between 1419 and 1444 A.D.

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